News

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Landmark ruling of the Court of Justice of the EU

We present a legal opinion prepared by professor Piotr Bogdanowicz about the consequences of the landmark ruling of the Court of Justice of the EU on the Poland’s National Council of the Judiciary and the Disciplinary Chamber of the Supreme Court.

Call for signatures to ensure funding for civil society in the EU

Ahead of negotiations of multiannual EU budget, the Batory Foundation initiates an advocacy campaign to increase EU funding for civil society organisations which promote and protect European values within the EU.

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Polands approach to Russia

At a time when Polish politicians disagree about almost everything, one subject is hardly discussed at all: policy towards Russia. We present the analysys by Katarzyna Pełczyńska-Nałęcz from forumIdei.

Boosting civil society in Poland

Civitates: consortium that we are a part of, has funded a projects of support for civil society organizations which have worked tirelessly in difficult conditions and keep democracy and public participation at the heart of society. One of those project is placed in Poland. Dorota Setniewska from the NGO Klon/Jawor Association, a leading partner in a new set up aimed at boosting the presence of civil society organizations in Poland, explains what has changed in recent years.

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The rule of law in Poland

We publish a commentary by lawyers from the #FreeCourts initiative concerning the effectiveness of actions taken by EU institutions in order to restore the rule of law in Poland. Authors emphasize the importance of the ongoing proceedings related to the prejudicial questions filed by Polish courts and indicate the instruments that proved to be the most effective.

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Open letter about whistleblower protection directive

Along with 75 organisations we sign an open letter to urge the EU Council to adopt the Parliament's position on reporting channels. The whistleblower protection directive is currently in trilogue. The signatories express serious concerns about the reporting channels regime in the Council and Commission positions in these negotiations.

A time to stand to stand together #IstandwithCEU

After recent push of CEU from Hungary and continuous hateful attacks on its founder, 50 philanthropic leaders condemn the violence directed to civil society activists and declare to stand side by side ready to defend civil society peers. "Civil society is an essential pillar of democracy. Without it, our democracy is diminished. We are proud to support it. We stand ready to defend it" - say representatives in the statement. 

Beata Pawlak Fund

Award winner in the Beata Pawlak Fund

Ewa Wanat is this year award winner in the Beata Pawlak Fund for the book "Deutsche nasz. Reportaże berlińskie", An award is presented annually to the author(s) of books or series of articles dealing with other cultures, religions and civilizations, published in Poland.

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Position of the Stefan Batory Foundation’s Legal Expert Group on the procedure for selecting Supreme Court judges

The Stefan Batory Foundation’s Legal Expert Group highlights that the selection procedure for Supreme Court (SN) judges currently underway is invalid because the Polish President’s notice of 24 May 2018 on judges’ vacancies at the SN initiating it was not signed (countersigned) by the Prime Minister.

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Functioning of the Constitutional Tribunal 2014-2017

We present an introduction to the report of the Stefan Batory Foundation Legal Expert Group “Functioning of the Constitutional Tribunal 2014-2017”. The report was prepared with regard to breach of the rule of law in Poland.

Regulation on the Rights and Values programme

On 30 May 2018 the European Commission published a draft proposal for a Regulation on the “Rights and Values Programme” as part of the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) for 2021-2027. We present our opinion on the proposal. Without major changes the instrument will fall short of reaching this goal. Dramatic challenges to European values require a new approach to value-promotion.

Analytical Reports: Poland in an Open Europe

European Commission should uphold infringement procedure over Law on Ordinary Courts

Michał Wawrykiewicz (Attorney-At-Law, Free Courts Initiative) argues that that the European Commission should uphold its infringement procedure as long as the Polish government does not offer concessions sufficiently eliminating the danger of political interference in judicial independence. Since there are no meaningful concessions there is no basis for withdrawing the complaint.

Analytical Reports: Poland in an Open Europe

EVI - promotion of democratic values

The European Values Instrument can provide a much-needed boost to the weakened resilience of European democracies. However, the details of its structure will determine whether this opportunity will be grasped.

Your Vote, Your Choice

Grass roots initiative now compulsory in Poland

Participatory budgets slowly growing in popularity in Poland since 2011, will now be compulsory in all major urban centres in the country. Our expert - Grzegorz Makowski is talking in Polish Radio about the concept of participatory budgets and how they are being implemented in Poland and why making them mandatory under the law is not a good idea.

Public Integrity

Call of 29 NGOs for Stopping the Amendment of the Public Fund-raising Law

We call for stopping the amendment of the Public Fund-raising Law. The Public Fund-raising Law is unique in that it offers a simple process to fund-raisers, ones that is clear for donors and, importantly, very safe for the regulator. This has encouraged citizens and civil society to engage in fund-raising to support good cause initiatives, especially ones that call for immediate action, e.g. natural disasters.

Open Letter to the President of the European Commission

As representatives of non-governmental organisations and scholars specialising in matters relating to the rule of law and the protection of human rights, we write this open letter so as to urge you to take immediate steps to stop the rapidly increasing legal chaos in Poland.

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State of the rule of law in Poland

Lawyers of civil society group #FreeCourts Initiative comment of the current state of Rule of Law and recommend  further intensive action by the European Union to provide judical protection.

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Rule of law in the EU beyond political divisions. Budgetary sanctions and a new programme for citizens

We present the analysys by Katarzyna Pełczyńska-Nałęcz. The EU needs new instruments for enforcing compliance with the law. This is why the European Parliament’s decisions in January 2019 to link payments from the EU budget to the rule of law in member states and establish a Rights and Values Programme (RVP) supporting grassroots democratic efforts are so important.

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Under Siege. Why Polish courts matter for Europe

We present a report made in cooperation with the European Stability Initiative about the current state of Polish judiciary. By successfully bringing the law on the Supreme Court in 2018 to the Court of Justice of the European Union, the European Commission showed that the EU is not helpless when its foundations areundermined. It proved that there is a powerful instrument to protect the rule of law.

Your Vote, Your Choice

Monitoring of the 2019 European Parliament election campaign in the main news programme of Polish public TV

The monitoring measured the time of presentation in “Wiadomości” of six national party committees and their leading candidates and evaluated the tone of presentation (neutral, positive, negative). Instances of propaganda, picture and voice manipulation, false and fake news, hate speech and omissions of important news were tracked and recorded.

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Position of the Stefan Batory Foundation Legal Expert Group on the amendment to the law on the Supreme Court adopted on 21 November 2018

The Stefan Batory Foundation Legal Expert Group welcomes the direction of the normative changes resulting from the law of 21 November 2018 on amending the law on the Supreme Court (the Amendment Act). Efforts by civil society organisations, common courts, the Supreme Court, the Supreme Administrative Court and EU bodies to protect the rule of law in Poland are starting to bear fruit.

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More ambitious "Rights and Values Programme"?

To be an effective instrument for promoting European values, the "Rights and Values Programme" should have a broader scope and be open for civil society organizations working at the local, national and transnational level. Prof. Laurent Pech (Middlesex University London) confirms in a legal opinion written for the Stefan Batory Foundation that these goals are compatible with European law in general and the legal basis proposed by the European Commission in particular.

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European Civil Society Organisations call for a more ambitious Rights and Values Programme

The "Rights and Values Programme", currently negotiated by EU institutions, could become an effective measure to promote European values. However, in its current form it would have a very limited impact. Therefore a group of 154 Civil Society Organizations from 19 EU Member States calls on EU decision-makers to make the "Rights and Values Programme" more ambitious by increasing its budget, broadening the scope and simplifying accessibilty to funds.

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Reset and continuation. The PiS government’s policy towards Belarus

Poland’s Law and Justice (PiS) government’s policy of normalisation with Belarus has brought tangible effects. Economic exchange has grown and progress has been achieved in the field of memory policy and education of pupils from the Polish minority. However, Warsaw’s focus on economy along with silencing narrative on democratisation raise concerns among Belarusian opposition. “The normalisation of relations with Belarus should not mean that basic values are forgotten” – claims Krzysztof Mrozek in the policy paper by ideaForum of the Batory Foundation.

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Devastation of Poland's Supreme Court

We present an urgent update on the ongoing devastation of the Polish Supreme Court. After the European Commission launched an infringement procedure against the unconstitutional Law on the Supreme Court, Polish authorities have not only refused to take back the law but went ahead with removing judges from their posts. Moreover, a drastic new law, passed on 20 July in unprecedented hurry, will allow the government to pack the Supreme Court and replace its chief justice as soon as possible, with very limited (if any) assessment of a given judge’s stature. The analysis, written by legal experts from the #FreeCourts initiative, outlines the status quo and calls on the Commission to urgently launch interim measures.

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Analysis: "Why the Court of Justice of the European Union is competent to judge on infringement over the Law on the Supreme Court"

There is an ongoing discussion about the European Commission potentially launching an infringement procedure over the Polish Law on the Supreme Court. In this context a question concerns the competence of the Court of Justice of the EU to judge the case.

We present an analysis on this issue by two prominent legal experts, Dr. Piotr Bogdanowicz and Dr. Maciej Taborowski. The authors argue in ten short points that provisions of the Law on the Supreme Court might jeopardize the principle of irremovability of judges and thus violate Articles 2 and 19(1) of the Treaty on the EU as well as Article 47 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU. On this basis they conclude that if the European Commission launched an infringement procedure over the Law on the Supreme Court, the Court of Justice of the EU would be competent to judge it.

Analytical Reports: Poland in an Open Europe

Where the law ends | The collapse of the rule of law in Poland – and what to do

Piotr Buras (head of the Warsaw Office of the European Council on Foreign Relations) and Gerald Knaus (chairman of the European Stability Initiative in Berlin) show how serious consequences for Poland and the European Union the politicization of courts in Poland will have. They argue that appealing against the Law on the Supreme Court to the Court of Justice of the EU by the European Commission is necessary. 

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Report on the consequences of legislative initiatives on independence of judiciary in Poland

Legal Expert Group of the Stefan Batory Foundation presents a report on the consequences of legislative initiatives on independence of judiciary in Poland in 2015-2018. The report was prepared with regard to breach of the rule of law in Poland.

The Poland-Ukraine Forum

A statement of the Polish members of the Polish-Ukrainian Dialogue Group

The Polish members of the Polish-Ukrainian Dialogue Group (Grupa Polsko-Ukraińskiego Dialogu) warn against the possible fatal consequences of introducing the amendment to the act on the Institute of National Remembrance (IPN) for the relationship between our nations and countries. The statement was sent also to Ukrainian media.

Public Integrity

Major challenges regarding the draft law on 'transparency' in public life

The new legislation on public transparency makes deep incursions into citizens' rights. Drafted by secret services, the bill intends to address issues regarding public transparency. It is not clear what issues it wants to address since no needs analysis has been presented.

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